Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (July 7) -- Latest NBA Summer League and free agency news

Latest NBA headlines and free-agency news:

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Report: Wizards still planning to match Porter’s offer sheet — If the Brooklyn Nets are hoping to scare away the Washington Wizards from matching their offer sheet for Otto Porter Jr., they must rethink that stance. That’s the word from Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, who writes that the Wizards have every intention of matching the offer — while also trying to drag out the process, too:

 The Wizards on Thursday night received the four-year, $106.5 million offer sheet Otto Porter Jr. signed with the Brooklyn Nets, according to sources, and Washington will take all of its allotted time before matching it and bringing its starting small forward back next season.

The Wizards have until 11:59 p.m. Saturday to match. And, sources said, nothing has changed from Washington’s perspective. The Wizards have every intention of matching Brooklyn’s offer — despite a few things being tossed into the sheet to attempt to make it less palatable for Washington to do so.

In addition to the usual goodies placed in such a deal — a 15 percent trade kicker and a player option for the fourth season, allowing Porter potentially to become a free agent again in 2020 — sources said the Nets also included an unusual provision: having half of Porter’s annual salary delivered to him by Oct. 1 of each season. That is the maximum amount allowed under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. In the end, though, the sheet is for the same amount of money — just with a larger chunk of it coming up front.

Several sources said there is nothing in the offer sheet that will deter the Wizards from matching the offer for the No. 3 pick from 2013 draft. And the Wizards intend to take their time doing so, forcing the Nets to sit around for four extra days with their cap space tied up because of the offer. In addition to the two days the Wizards have to match Porter’s offer initially, there also is a two-day window in which Porter will need to report to the team and be given a physical and another two-day window after that for the team to announce he has passed the physical.

Porter initially was given a max offer sheet by the Sacramento Kings, but they later moved on when Porter chose to sign one with the Nets instead.

When the Wizards match Porter, they will have a full roster of 15 players and a payroll of $125,907,444 — more than $6 million over the luxury tax threshold. Assuming the Wizards stay in the tax, that would mark the first time Washington has paid the tax. Until now, only the Wizards, Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans have avoided paying it.

In addition, to avoid being hard-capped, the Wizards will use their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Jodie Meeks, who agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal to come to Washington earlier in free agency.

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Decision time arrives for Hawks on Hardway Jr. — From the start of the NBA Draft until today, the Atlanta Hawks are changing the faces and direction of the team. Gone is center Dwight Howard to Charlotte (via a trade) and soon, free-agent forward Paul Millsap will head to Denver (via a reported deal with the Nuggets). Tim Hardaway Jr. signed a reported four-year offer sheet with the New York Knicks last night, which puts another decision on the Hawks’ plate, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The Hawks restricted free agent signed a four-year, $71 million offer sheet from the Knicks, a deal that will play the shooting guard about $17.75 million a season. The Hawks and Hardaway’s agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed the offer sheet was signed late Thursday night. The Hawks have 48 hours to decide whether to match, a deadline of about 11 p.m. on Saturday. If not, Hardaway returns to New York where he spent his first two seasons.

According to ESPN, who along with The Vertical were the first outlets to break the news, the deal has a fourth-year player option and a 15 percent trade kicker.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has said retaining Hardaway is a priority. Now, it’s decision time. If the Hawks match, Hardaway would have the highest annual salary on the team and surpass the $16.9 million owed Kent Bazemore next season.

The Hawks made Hardaway a $4.6 million qualifying offer last month. Hardaway did not accept and remained a restricted free agent.

“They brought me here because they believed in me and believed in what I’m capable of doing,” Hardaway said in April. “I’m thankful for it.”

The Hawks are undergoing major changes this offseason, although they have yet to sign a free agent of their own. Dwight Howard was traded to the Hornets. Paul Millsap agreed to a deal with the Nuggets as an unrestricted free agent. If Hardaway leaves, Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince would be the only players to remain from the postseason starting lineup. Prince was a late addition to the unit during his rookie season.

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UPDATE, 10:57 a.m. — The Celtics may have made some serious headway in their efforts to clear cap space today. A reported deal that is still being finalized will send Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris, which will help clear cap space to sign Gordon Hayward to his max deal … 

Report: Celtics having trouble making trades — As we reported in this space yesterday, the Boston Celtics have to do some trade maneuvering in order to fit the reported max deal they’ve agreed to with Gordon Hayward under the salary cap. That hasn’t been an easy task so far for the Celtics’ brass, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald:

At various points through the day and into the evening yesterday, the Celts were alternately close to a sign-and-trade deal with Utah and then slipping away from such a move.

Jae Crowder was wondering whether he’d get a new place of employment for his July 6 birthday, though he might have preferred a card and perhaps a small cake with a shamrock in the frosting.

Kelly Olynyk, already a casualty of Hayward’s agreement to sign with the C’s, was celebrating a four-year contract with Miami, a proud Canadian accepting a reported $50 million to go to the Great White South (Beach sand).

Terry Rozier was sending out semi-cryptic social media messages that seemed to indicate that he, too, could be on the move.

According to two league sources, the Celtics were having some issues getting deals done in part because teams see them as being in a tight squeeze — needing to clear salary to get Hayward done and get on with the task of completing the roster around him, with maybe another trade or a free agent signing into the room via the mid-level exception of $4.328 million. Opponents were trying to get a bargain, while the Celts were trying to get at least reasonable value in return.

It is almost a lock that Crowder, Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart will have to go, and with the latter two lies another issue. Bradley is entering the last year of his contract at $8,808,989, while Smart is set to make $4,538,020 in the last year of his rookie deal. He can be a restricted free agent next summer for the qualifying offer of $6,053,719, but it is certain he will get more than that in an offer sheet, probably a lot more than that.

“It’s funny,” said one general manager. “Avery Bradley isn’t Paul George, but just like Boston didn’t want to give up the Brooklyn or Laker pick to Indiana, teams are wary about giving up something when Bradley could walk after this year.

“And if you go for Smart, you have to look at your roster and decide how much you’re going to be willing to pay him next summer.”

By all accounts, however, the Celtics are not asking for the moon for either, not that Indiana got that when it received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from Oklahoma City for George.

But both Bradley and Smart are highly attractive complementary players.

Said another GM: “Bradley’s a leader, and Marcus just works his tail off. There’s not a team in this league that couldn’t use guys like that. But as usual, it comes down to the cost.”

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Spurs take chance, sign veteran Gay — In a move typical of their ways, the San Antonio Spurs quietly announced the signing of veteran swingman Rudy Gay last night. The reported two-year deal gives Gay a chance to play on perhaps the best team he’s ever suited up for in the NBA and also is a bit of a risk for the Spurs given Gay’s recent Achilles injury last season. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News has more:  

One of the league’s premier wing scorers in his heyday, Gay is coming off a torn Achilles tendon that makes him a risk-reward value play in this market.

Gay suffered the injury Jan. 18 after appearing in only 30 games last season with Sacramento.

“We expect him to be ready to go” for camp, said Gay’s agent, Roger Montgomery. “He’s healthy. He’s cleared. We don’t expect any residuals from the injury.”

Still, in San Antonio the 6-foot-8 Gay could be a formidable backup to All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard.

Will such an accomplished scorer have difficulty adapting to a supporting role?

“I wouldn’t assume anything. It’s up to the Spurs what they do,” Montgomery said. “The Spurs don’t make mistakes with the guys they sign and how they fit into their culture.

“He’ll fit in fine.”

It took some sacrifice for Gay to land in San Antonio. He opted out of $14 million this season to leave Sacramento, putting a premium on the chance to win.

Gay has made just one playoff appearance in his career, a resume wart that played into his decision.

“The main thing is he wanted the opportunity to play for a winner,” Montgomery said. “The Spurs have a tradition of being a winning organization. He’s excited to be a part of that.”

Gay’s commitment, coming on the heels of first-round draft pick Derrick White’s signing Thursday, gave the Spurs 10 players under guaranteed contract for next season.

They are expected to add an 11th and 12th in the days to come. Backup guard Patty Mills has agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal to return, while the team is still expected to negotiate a long-term deal with center Pau Gasol.

The Spurs also are awaiting a return-or-retire decision from Manu Ginobili. They have the wherewithal to bring him back should Ginobili choose the former.

Then there is the issue of guard Jonathon Simmons, a restricted free agent whose courtship appears to be gaining steam.

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Holiday says he’s ‘already started’ talking to Cousins — The New Orleans Pelicans and point guard Jrue Holiday made sure their relationship will last a few more seasons as he officially inked his new contract yesterday. With him in the fold and All-Star big man Anthony Davis under contract until 2021, the Pelicans’ focus is on keeping their other All-Star big man around. DeMarcus Cousins will be a free agent next summer and Holiday, writes William Guillory of The Times-Picayune, is doing what he can to convince Cousins to stay:

With his deal done, Holiday said he’s turned his sites toward getting All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next offseason, to sign his own long-term deal to stay in New Orleans.

“I’ve already started,” Holiday said of pushing Cousins on the idea of staying with the Pelicans.

Holiday added that part of what made his decision to return so easy was the fact that his teammates were so adamant in their desire to have him as a core part of the team.

He even joked that some of his teammates, including Cousins, went to drastic measures to get their point across.

“I can’t get into a couple specifics because there might have been a few threats,” Holiday said with a smirk, later alluding that Cousins may have been the culprit.

Holiday said his teammates helped give him a clear vision of what they hope the team can be with this current core and he’s hoping Cousins can have that same clarity around this same time next year.

“(The message) was pretty much, ‘We want you back,'” Holiday said. “They were saying they couldn’t do this without me and that I was obviously a part of the family and a big piece to the puzzle. I guess when you’re wanted that makes you feel comfortable.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Jamal Murray won’t suit up for the Denver Nuggets at the Las Vegas Summer League … The Houston Rockets are reportedly on the hunt for more non-guaranteed deals to acquire … An alternative for Utah Jazz fans who are itching to rid themselves of Gordon Hayward jerseys … Jamal Crawford may reportedly be interested in joining the Boston Celtics if he gets bought out by the Atlanta Hawks …